Copied below from the Daily Camera in its entirety:
Milo Yiannopoulos, right, is sprayed with Silly String along with UC Davis College Republicans as they re-enact the Nov. 18, 2011 pepper spraying of students by campus police during a rally on campus Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (Hector Amezcua / The Sacramento Bee)
The controversy over Milo Yiannopoulos speaking at CU tonight is not unlike the debate that goes on in our modest offices on an almost daily basis. We believe in free speech and we believe in decency. We do not think these beliefs are contradictory, but we understand that at the margins there will be differences of opinion about just where the lines are drawn.
So, for example, we get letters condemning our editorial cartoons on a regular basis. The writers of these letters do not want merely to quarrel with the messages in the offending cartoons; they want us to know they should never have been published.
A week ago we ran a cartoon making a rather predictable joke about the Donald Trump circus replacing the Barnum & Bailey circus, which had just announced it was going out of business. A reader complained it was stupid and juvenile, in bad taste, not “classy,” and should not have been published.
Last weekend, we ran a cartoon which changed the presidential seal to incorporate Trump’s “America First” slogan and converted the American bald eagle into the Reichsadler, or German imperial eagle, which was a symbol of the Third Reich (and also the Second Reich in the 19th century, and the Weimar Republic). This, too, offended a reader who said we should not have published it.
A few weeks back, a cartoonist illustrated the end of Obama’s presidency by replacing Porky Pig with Obama in the famous sign-off logo ending Looney Tunes cartoons, with Obama saying, “That’s all, folks!” A reader was offended, saying this was racist. “How could you?” he wrote.
Editorial cartoons are intended to be provocative. It is our sense that readers on both ends of the political spectrum are quicker to be offended these days than in the past, but that does not stop us from publishing provocative cartoons because our function here on the opinion pages is to provide a platform for a wide range of views, including satirical and irreverent views.
Which brings us to Yiannopoulos, the gay, British, sometimes blond-frosted, right-wing provocateur who has recently made it his mission to crusade against political correctness. Yiannopoulos believes that the left, and feminism in particular, have built a culture in which anyone who disagrees with their orthodoxy is by definition committing some sort of outrage. He is fighting back. Given the results of our recent election, it seems fair to say he is not alone in this view.
“In an outrage culture, I think the appropriate response is to be outrageous,” he told CNN in an interview last summer. “Because what I want to do is smash political correctness. I don’t want everyone to be like me, but I think it’s important that there are some people like me.”
The interview was occasioned by Yiannapoulos’s banishment from Twitter after he tweeted a series of insults directed at Leslie Jones, the “Saturday Night Live” cast member and star of last year’s remake of “Ghostbusters.” Yiannopoulos’s tweets, which qualified as trolling in the idiom of social media, triggered even nastier, more racist, more misogynistic tweets from various lowlifes who evidently felt Yiannopoulos’s tweets gave them license. Yiannopoulos replied he was not responsible for the acts of others and that famous Hollywood stars are not delicate flowers who require protection from free speech.
“If I offended you,” he said, “that’s me performing my function. And you should grow a thicker skin and grow up. And so long as there are people who think that offense-taking and having grievances is equivalent to some genuine kind of injury, I’m still necessary. You may disagree with me. That’s fine. Come debate me. But so long as there is a politics in this country, as there is, where people can turn victimhood and grievance into currency, I will continue to be as offensive as possible.”
Though we disagree with Yiannopoulos on most things, we confess to a twinge or two of identification with this sentiment. As a result of our criticisms of Boulder city government over the past couple of years, we have been accused of being impolite or inappropriate, of giving offense, of being outside the acceptable civic debate right-of-way. These accusations are mild forms of a very common tactic in leftist authoritarian countries, which is for those in power to delegitimize dissent by claiming it constitutes unacceptable behavior.
We believe such efforts to stifle dissenting or unpopular views are more dangerous than those views themselves. Belief in free speech includes tolerance for speech many will find offensive. This is why the American Civil Liberties Union famously defended the right of Nazis to march in Skokie, Ill., back in the 1970s.
Yiannopoulos was invited to speak at CU by two conservative student groups. When other students petitioned the university to disinvite him, Chancellor Phil DiStefano denied the request. “To be a university dedicated to the free exchange of ideas, our students should be exposed to views that are both in line with their beliefs and those that are not,” DiStefano wrote.
We agree. This principle is one academia and journalism share. If you don’t want to hear Yiannopoulos, don’t go. You can also protest his appearance, although we would suggest that actually plays into his hands. The way to frustrate a provocateur is to ignore him.
— Dave Krieger, for the editorial board. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter:@DaveKrieger